The construction of Harlow RFC’s new ground is now visibly well underway, with an end-of-May completion currently scheduled. The club will play its last season at its existing facilities at Rams Gorse, before moving to the new facilities at Latton Farm for the beginning of the new season.
The club has been at Rams Gorse since 1955 and is now making the two-mile switch that will see them become more central to Harlow and be part of the corridor of sports facilities, which already contains several football pitches and the Harlow Leisurezone.
The current ground only houses two pitches, which aren’t floodlit, and have no designated areas for spectators. There are also 50 car parking spaces and there is no segregation between the male and female changing rooms in the single storied clubhouse.
The new facilities are set to include four adult pitches, two mini pitches and floodlights for the training and first XV pitches. Whereas pitch-side, there will be an outside bar, a patio area, parking spaces for 140 cars and a terrace to hold standing spectators that will run the full length of the main playing field.
The new clubhouse will also now have two floors and meets the RFU and Sport England guidelines. The ground floor will contain two senior and six team changing suites that will allow men and women to be able to get changed at the same time, due to the offset doors that will separate each suite. Showers, toilets and first aid and remedial rooms will also be on the ground floor. The upper floor will contain a member’s bar, a president’s bar, a lift, a balcony and a function room that will be able to cater for up to 150 people.
Harlow RFC’s Club Chair, Tracey Wedd, said, “Our current clubhouse does not have separate gender changing rooms, nor enough toilet facilities, rugby pitches or car parking spaces to cope with its growing membership. It is no longer fit for the modern requirements of a multi-age, multi-gender playing membership. The new club will resolve all of these problems and more, giving both our members and the wider community, a pleasant environment to play or watch rugby.”
The club now has roughly 500 members and all age groups will be able to use the facilities. There are male and female members from the age of five and upwards, as well as participants of Walking Rugby for the over 50’s.
New names for the site are currently being considered, as “Latton Farm” refers to the farm at the north-east boundary of the new home.